Precarious Migrants in a Sharing Economy| #Migrantes on TikTok: Exploring Platformed Belongings

Daniela Jaramillo-Dent, Amanda Alencar, Yan Asadchy


Digital media and human mobility are intrinsically connected in an era where the human and the technological converge for representation and agency. In this context, platforms such as TikTok become prime spaces for diverse creative voices. This study constitutes the first exploratory analysis of TikTok as a medium where migrants embody their belonging through aspirational, performative, and self-governance creative and platformed practices. Through a content and discourse analysis of 198 videos gathered with relevant hashtags, using a Python script, we delve into the content created by Latin American migrants in Spain and the United States. The concept of platformed belongings is theorized in their use of TikTok’s affordances and vernaculars to express aspirations to be part of certain socioeconomic, national, cultural, and digital communities. This is achieved through a range of storylines, from collective identities that align with expected values to stern challenges to oppressive norms. In this sense, we argue that platformed belongings enable migrants to reclaim their rights and negotiate existing symbolic boundaries by achieving different levels of visibility within this platform.


immigration, TikTok aspirations, belonging, self-representation, governance, performativity, content analysis

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